One major trend in the camera industry this year is the introduction of mobile operating systems such as Android into digital cameras. By opening the door to things like Wi-Fi, data plans, and apps, camera makers are going in the same direction that phone makers went some years ago, turning their devices into what can best be described as portable computers with specialized functions (e.g. voice-calling, photography).
While covering the trend, we’ve been at a loss for what to call the new cameras. After calling the Samsung Galaxy Camera a “voiceless phonecamera” in our hands-on first-look yesterday, commenters suggested that we call the device a “smartcamera”. Bingo… that’s the term we were looking for. Read more…
DSLRs are enormous, problematically-shaped gadgets. There’s no other portable gadget with such an unapologetically non-portable shape […] Hell, even giant headphones fold up into themselves. But DSLRs are bulky, heavy, roundish and squareish at the same time […] There’s a reason there’s a thriving economy of DSLR-specific bags.
[…] If you’re just getting into more serious photography, a DSLR’s button layout is a major obstacle to overcome, and, more importantly, an unnecessary one. It’s not that people can’t learn, or even that they shouldn’t–it’s just that for many users, there’s no need. To someone who’s only used a point-and-shoot, you know what a DSLR looks like? A f**king airplane cockpit.
[…] DSLRs should be, and will be very soon, for experts. For pros, or passionate amateurs. Sports photographers, bird-watchers, people who want to build a multi-thousand-dollar collection of lenses. But for those of us who just want to take better pictures, dammit, there are amazing options just for us.
I think the big question is “what does the aspiring photographer want out of their camera?” If it’s simply “better photos”, then a mirrorless should do just fine… but they’d be missing out on the joys of learning how to operate “a f**king airplane cockpit.”
Canon’s new 6D is the company’s attempt to make full frame photography more affordable and accessible to more photographers. Our initial impression of the camera is exactly what the company is boasting about: that it’s small and light. The camera’s lightness makes it feel much more Rebel-y than its beefier full-frame siblings, but at the same time it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s not simply a full frame sensor stuffed inside a Rebel body. Canon has chosen to use magnesium alloy for key parts of the camera, giving it strength where needed, while using lighter materials for other parts to reduce the weight. Read more…
Everyone is a photographer these days, and it is estimated that 380 billion photographs were taken last year, with a huge percentage of them created with the 1 billion+ camera-equipped phones now floating around. The New York Times’ James Estrin has some interesting thoughts on where this radical-shift in the practice and definition of photography is taking us:
Just as access to pens and paper hasn’t produced thousands of Shakespeares or Nabokovs, this explosion of camera phones doesn’t seem to have led to more Dorothea Langes or Henri Cartier-Bressons. But it has certainly led to many more images of what people ate at lunch.
[…] A photograph is no longer predominantly a way of keeping a treasured family memory or even of learning about places or people that we would otherwise not encounter. It is now mainly a chintzy currency in a social interaction and a way of gazing even further into one’s navel.
He thinks the strengthening torrent of digital images will have one of two possible effects: a culture that is more aware and appreciative of photography, or a society in which it’s impossible for any photo to rise above the flood of images.
Love it or hate it, you have to admit that Instagram is making a huge impact on the world of photography, changing the way images are snapped and shared. Among the 80+ million users who have shared 4+ billion photos are many of the world’s most renowned photojournalists. Olivier Laurent over at the British Journal of Photography recently chatted with some of them, asking them about their thoughts on how Instagram is transforming photography as we know it:
Speaking with these photographers, it quickly becomes apparent that Instagram, more than any other social network in past years, has allowed them to form a deeper connection with the general public. For John Stanmeyer, another VII photographer that uses Instagram, it’s all about “communication, communication, communication,” he tells BJP. “In the decades – let’s hope far less – to come, the entire discussion of whether to use this thing called social media will be a moot – archaic – point of view, no different than it was centuries ago when previous commonly used means of information distribution where invented and debated – ‘Should I write on papyrus leaf or this new fangled material called paper, or a typewriter instead of block-type printing presses, etc.'”
[…] “We are no longer looking at content creation as the only means of income and creative expression,” say Peveto and Slaby. “How content is displayed and distributed are critical in reaching broader audiences, finding more creative ways to engage that audience and in inviting them to participate in the process.” And Instagram, they say, help them achieve these goals. “It helps us connect with our audience organically and offers different options for sharing such as creating parallel narratives with larger projects, sharing behind-the-scenes experiences, opening a dialogue with our audience, and cross-platform geo-tagging and mapping integration.”
Scott Lamb of BuzzFeed created this exceptionally moving video that asks the question, “what makes a great photograph great?” Lamb’s voice narrates a slideshow of some of the most powerful photographs captured throughout history — photographs that capture life, love, death, sacrifice, joy, and suffering. Captions accompany the images, so we recommend watching the video twice and pausing on each photo to make sure you catch all of them (otherwise it may be hard to know what’s actually happening).
I have been taking pictures for almost twenty years now and so much has changed over those years. Back in the beginning gas used to cost $1.00, Bill Clinton was president, and I was picking up a camera for the first time. I started out in high school playing with my father’s Nikon FM2 and taking pictures for the school newspaper. Today, I work with a medium format digital back shooting national ad campaigns, magazine articles, and catalogs. Some aspects of how I photograph have stayed unchanged, but a great deal has changed considerably. Read more…
My mind is a strange and dangerous place. I shouldn’t go in there alone after dark. But the other night I was thinking, just me and myself, about all the new camera releases this year. Which had made the biggest impact? Was it the Canon 5D III with that world-class autofocus system? The Olympus OM-D bringing mirrorless cameras up a notch in image quality and usability? Should I mention the excellent Samsung NX20, just because no one knows it’s really good? Give the Fuji X-Pro an award for best concept most poorly carried out? Consider the Sony NEX-7 for putting full-frame resolution on an APS-C sensor? Read more…
Unlike most photographers, I hate my camera. I have read hundreds of stories on the Internet in which photographers argue about which cameras are the best and why. There are stories trying to prove that Canon is better than Nikon, or that 4×5 film is better than medium format digital. Camera review websites show scientific-style photographs displaying how much detail they have captured in a dollar bill, or pictures of color checkers and skin tones. They will also show “real-world” and studio tests illustrating how camera A is better than camera B and write long narratives about why. Read more…
This small mountain of gear leads to two very frightening thoughts. Firstly, there’s no ending in sight; one keeps accumulating more and more equipment in order to keep pushing the edge of what’s possible both from a compositional and artistic standpoint, as well as from an image quality standpoint. You’ve either got to have a great day job and very deep pockets, or some good recurring clients.
The second thought is around obsolescence. In the film days, the camera body and lenses lasted a long time; you invested in glass, got a decent body – one that fulfilled your personal needs as a photographer – and then picked the right film for the job. Read more…